Cuba moves straight to semifinals beating USA
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, June 8, 2018.-
Cuba beat United States 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 28-26) to move
straight to the NORCECA U19 Boy’s Continental Championship
semifinals in Gimnasio Nacional of San José, Costa Rica.
Cuba had a dominant overall performance edging the United States
team in the first and second sets mostly with their monster
blocking. USA had a late reaction pushing harder in set three,
keeping the score really close, as both teams showed strength
with powerful attacks and accurate blocking. Both missed
Cuba (3-0) tops pool B and will play Saturday’s semifinals,
while USA (2-1) finishing second will play to Nicaragua in
quarterfinals. The tournament gives two vacancies to next year’s
FIVB World Championship.
The Caribbean held a slight advantage of 33-30 in kills and 6-5
in blocks; they were more effective in serves by 6-2. Cuba
scored on 33 US errors and allowed 27.
Wing spiker Victor Andreu scored 13 points the only Cuban with
double digits; wing spiker José Gutierrez finished with 9 points
and opposite Alexei Ramírez with 8 points. Wing spiker Alexander
Knight and opposite Scott Solan scored 11 points each for the
Captain Christian Thondike of Cuba said they are well prepared,
“there are many people involved in our process, today we showed
that our system Works and we hope to reach the finals. Our
blocking stopped United States”.
Cuban coach Mario Raul Izquierdo said “this is what we came for,
moving one step at a time of reaching the goals we set since our
preparation. The competition is going as planned, facing each
match focused. I want to dedicate this qualification to
semifinals to everybody in Cuba we want them to be proud of our
new generation of players”.
Setter Aidan Knight expressed “we all love to compete, it was a
good fight. Cuba put a lot of bounce away deep and we had a
tough time dealing with that. They passed our three men block
and we have to do some small changes for the following matches”.
Coach Brad Keller said to be satisfied with the way his team
competed “I really like the fact that we go better as the match
went on, that we stayed together and that at the very end we
were with them. Hopefully we can have the opportunity to face
them again, but first we have to take care of Nicaragua”.
El acomodador Aidan Knight expresó “todos amamos competir, fue
una buena pelea. Cuba atacó mucho a la línea de atrás y tuvimos
problemas para responder. Superaron nuestro triple bloqueo y
debemos hacer pequeños ajustes para los próximos juegos”.
El entrenador Brad Keller dijo estar satisfecho de la manera que
su equipo compitió “me gustó que mejoramos conforme el juego
avanzó, de que nos mantuvimos unidos y que al cierre los tuvimos
muy cerca. Ojala tengamos la oportunidad de enfrentarnos a ellos
de nuevo, pero primero debemos resolver con Nicaragua”.